Our Mission

We believe that all South African children and teenagers should have access to high quality engaging books so that they learn the joy of reading and its power to improve their lives.

The power of books to provide young readers with a window on themselves as well as on others is especially relevant in South Africa with its diverse cultures and historical divides.

IBBY South Africa is one of more than 70 country sections of the International Board on Books for Young People, which was founded just after World War Two to promote international understanding through children’s books. IBBY is committed to protect and uphold the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, in particular, a child’s right to education and direct access to information. Our membership of IBBY ensures that the best South African books and reading projects receive international exposure.

Our activities

We engage in a number of activities both inside and outside South Africa:

  • We celebrate and reward excellence in our biennial Exclusive Books IBBY SA picture book award.
  • We are a platform for noteworthy South African children’s books through the IBBY Honour List of Books display at the biennial IBBY World Congresses. Our members’ choice of the best South African books gives our writers and illustrators and publishers international exposure.
  • Every year we nominate excellent South African book and literacy projects for major international awards like the IBBY Asahi Award and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
  • We host quarterly public bookbashes to explore issues and themes with invited panels of writers, illustrators, publishers, librarians and literacy activists.
  • We send out a quarterly newsletter to our members across the world. It includes a wide variety of events and opinion pieces relevant to the world of SA children’s literature.
  • We provide reviews of books via this site and our newsletter, BookBash

For the last 10 years our annual Schools Programme, an IBBY SA/BiblionefSA partnership, has provided wonderful collections of storybooks in all our languages to rural primary schools. With the generous support of the Yamada Bee Company, hundreds of schools have benefitted.